Sometimes you take the picture with your mind, knowing in a few days you will forget to look back and remember the moment, but that’s ok because pausing to take the photo could ruin the moment. Forgoing taking pictures even though you know images are what we look back on later to remember the moment. You know it will be ok if you forget the actual moment because the beauty of the moment is forever etched in your soul.
We live in a society where photos are more accessible than ever.
We take snapshots of everything from our dinner to our special family moments and blast them out on social media. Some share to brag their life is better than yours. Others may share to pretend that their life is ok. Yet, another may share their moments not specifically for others to see but to immortalize the moment for prosperity.
Too often, we are so busy taking photos that we miss the real beauty of the moment.
We forget to live the moment. To be fully present.
I know a girl who went to a food truck festival with her two elementary-age children. She posted 102 photos from the few hour-long event later that evening. I recall seeing her post and thinking I was sad for her. It appeared to me (and this is just my opinion) that she probably spent so much time looking at her life through the screen on her camera that she didn’t really get to feel the moment.
I began to wonder, did she know how to feel the moment?
I know it has taken me years to even begin to understand what living in the now and being present actually means.
I haven’t even come close to mastering the concept. Still, I have begun to understand the benefit of being fully present enough that I want to live the principal.
I lay here in a tent in the woods wrapped up in my sleeping bag with brown dog snuggled at my feet. It is the morning after my 42 birthday. I hear the wind blowing outside my tent. I look out the open flap and see the leaves moving to allow tiny, sparkly rays of sunshine to float into my tent.
My birthday weekend was not amazing. I didn’t feel happy and excited about the whole weekend. Frankly, my birthdays are not usually the magical day of celebration that they were when I was younger.
Yet, they are what they are meant to be.
This year, like every year, I spent time reflecting.
I reflect on the last year. Where I am going. What I have done and what I want.
I thought this trip would be an excellent time for me to connect with the trees. To hike with my dogs, to hug a few trees, and to laugh with friends.
I did laugh with friends. I walked my dogs in the woods. I took my boots off and stood in ice-cold fresh spring mountain water. It was a good weekend, not magical, but good.
I didn’t take pictures, check my messages or post on social media how much fun I was having.
What I did do …
I sat on a rock in a mountain creek. I watched my dog run from friend to friend happier than I think I have ever seen her. I watched her tell each friend about the fun she was having as she drank fresh mountain water. I listened to the water rush over the rocks as it moved downstream.
I soaked in the sun as I watched big puffy white clouds float past us.
I took note of the couple butterflies flutter past us as they followed the path of the stream.
I sat. I enjoyed. I was present.
My actual birthday morning, I saw my grumpy teenage son wake up, knowing he is not a morning person I walked past him, as I do for the first 30 mins he is awake most days. As I walked by, I heard,
“Happy birthday, mom.”
I smiled deep in my heart because in the first few moments of his morning, he remembered it was my birthday. As simple as that is, it was a moment, and it was the present moment.
The night before, I had laid in a damp grassy field at 3:30 am with my dad and my husband and counted 42 shooting stars.
Cold and tired, we headed back to our campsite, happy and content because we took time out of our busy days and life to practice just being present.
We didn’t talk about the need to be present, we just did it. (Even though I am now talking about the need, I get the irony).
None of those moments were particularly magical, but they were moments I may have missed the beauty of had I not been present.
Had I been recording girlie playing in the stream or rushed past Kev that morning or been to tired and cold to crawl out of bed at 3:30am I would have deprived myself of allowing those moments to fill my soul. To replenish my tank.
This afternoon we will break down the tent. Pack all our stuff into the van and head home. We will put away our gear and prepare for a busy day catching up after a week of being offline.
In the next two days, I have numerous client calls, a few deadlines, and a meeting. I will more than likely become plugged back in and even overloaded with deadlines.
I may forget about the moment at the creek with friends, the softness of Kevin’s normally grumpy morning voice, or the delight of each wow we squared as we saw another shooting star.
The good news is those moments while not immortalized on social media will live in my soul.
The benefit of having been present for a little while filled my soul and will keep me on track through the next week. The footprint they left in my soul will be my fuel that gives me the desire to be present again.
To live in the moment as often as I can.